tv Studio 1.0 Bloomberg May 25, 2015 1:00pm-1:31pm EDT
joining me today, silicon valley creator mike judge and executive producer alec berg. thank you for joining us. i am a big fan and i have seen every episode. you have written, produced, and directed several different episodes. what is different about season two? alec: the biggest thing we have had to deal with was the loss of christopher evan welch. was the cornerstone of season one. that was a huge, huge hole to fill and writing-wise a challenge to figure out what to do. emily: he was terrific and i understand he is being replaced by a woman. mike: not necessarily replaced. she becomes the lead partner,
this new character that was not in season one. it is not necessarily a 1-1, you cannot replace them with anybody. we had to write around that. the second season is the story about what happens to a company. it is them going to the next level. emily: everybody wants to know, is there a good dick joke in this series? mike: there is at least one. emily: is it as worthy of the one in season one? alec: we love all of our babies. [laughter] it is hard to say which one is better. emily: that is one of the most talked about moments of season one. i feel like it is indicative of how you put the show together because it is technically correct. you did a lot of research on the technical part of things. tell me how that came to be.
alec: when mike and i talked about working on the show, what we said is that what we hate are technically incorrect jokes, so we said that if we did them they would be correct. they may not be funny but they will be correct. so far i think we have stayed with that. emily: mike, you are an engineer. you worked in silicon valley yourself. you know about this world. mike: i have fun on that one. we actually, believe it or not, this guy who got his phd after we finished season one was the compression consultant. we asked him for the joke. we have a lot of technical stuff about the various angles. he went to town on this.
it came out of one of the writers. he was talking about discussion and what you can -- i don't know what you can say on this show. manipulating four men at the same time. alec said i think we have it. alec: that is my own personal "beautiful mind" moment. emily: i just got spit on. very meta. alec: they call it a classic for a reason. emily: you guys do a lot of research for the show. tell me a little bit about that. mike: our stories come from real stories up here. we both have a desire to dig in and find out more about the real world and what these people actually do. it kept occurring to us that we
do not know what these people are doing. i used to program a little bit but i was not building apps and platforms, i was in a test engineering thing. the more we dug in, the more we found. emily: tell me about your time in silicon valley. mike: i worked for a company graphics.allax worked there for a few months. emily: why did you leave? mike: i did not enjoy it too much. the movie "office space" was more about why i would leave that job. i don't know, i just wanted to do something else. emily: the hot shows used to be about doctors and lawyers.
why write about silicon valley and computer geeks? mike: you do not think these guys are hot? alec: we asked ourselves that on a daily basis. why did we decide to do a show about people who sit and type all day. and what they do is inherently unfilmable. it is a challenge. [laughter] emily: unsexy. unglamorous. unfunny. alec: it could not be more relevant. you look at the speed at which tech is moving and the role that it plays in our life. mike: hollywood is always very puzzled. when the internet exploded, they tried a movie called "the net," trying to make it sexy and intriguing. it was ridiculous. it is the challenge that can lead you to do more interesting stuff that has not been done in television. it seems like a good time to take a look at the people were ho are getting rich off of it
and building the things that we use everyday. emily: when you ask doctors about grays anatomy, they say that it is nothing like that. what do you want engineers to say about "silicon valley?" to you toant is it right? mike: i like it when they say -- we have a lot of people saying that we have gotten it right for the most part. alec: we try to get the technical details right. we do a lot of research and have a lot of consultants that ask a lot of questions. it is mostly the personality types. mike was an engineer and my father was a biophysicist. i feel like i know those personalities so it is really about that attitude. mike: i also feel like it is good if we can make the people who work in this world actually laugh and enjoy it on that level. so far it seems like for the most part that has been the case.
there are a few haters out there. emily: i have to mention elon musk. alec: nice segue. emily: he said that none of those people are software engineers. software engineers are more helpful, thoughtful and special. i feel like mike judge has never been to burning man which is silicon valley. have you ever been two burning man, first of all? mike: i have not. he is right about that. alec: he did just last week light a man on fire. mike: one step at a time. emily: how do you respond to that? mike: elon musk is at the top of the game so he may see things differently. i am not going to ever say that elon musk, that i know silicon valley better than elon musk.
we are looking for comedy, not to just glorify and put it up on a pedestal. emily: marc andreessen and peter fans.are here in -- huge you might poke fun at him in season one with a guy named peter gregory. i know that some of these people you talk to on a regular basis. who did you talk to make sure you were getting it right? that you had geek cred? mike: lots of people. before this went to series i did not have the resources so one of my best friends from high school is a top programmer at google. a lawyer who has a connection to startups. once we got going we went all over the place. google and facebook and yelp.
sergi, and mark zuckerberg, were they having to talk that happy to talk to you? mike: we have not met them yet. alec: we saw that larry and serge were wearing our shirts when they did the ice bucket challenge. emily: what is your take on the sexism issue in silicon valley? mike: it is kind of surprising to me that it took this long for anything like this to happen. ♪
emily: i wonder, is it strange critiquing silicon valley from hollywood? which is its own epicenter of anxiety and ego. alec: i think there are actually a huge number of similarities. we pitch pilots, entrepreneurs pitch startups to senior investors. we do season one and they do series a. it feels natural and there is no shortage of ego in either. emily: you often hear entrepreneurs say they are
trying to change the world. what do you think they are doing? mike: some of them are making the world a better place. not to say that hollywood is better. i am sure that the top successful people in hollywood like j.j. abrams and chuck lorre are saying that their shows are making the world a better place by making people laugh. it is a different culture. they do not flash wealth in silicon valley the way they do in hollywood. a alec: it is an interesting code. you cannot drive a car because
it is pompous but you can fly 50 friends to france and have a party. emily: your movie, "idiocracy," portrays a world in which people are getting stupider. we do not have to drive today thanks to uber, we do not have to cook. groceries are delivered by amazon. are we on a path to a real-world idiocracy? mike: yes, probably so. [laughter] i would not take that movie too seriously. that is just exaggerating things. maybe it is making the world a better place. i like uber. emily: who in tech is most overdue for lampooning? mike: tom perkins. i alec: because there is so much
ch lag time between when we write the show and when we air, when the show comes on, we write in june and it comes on in april. 10 months from when we write to when it hits air. so much of what happens that we want to go after happens after we have written shows but before we air. a emily: you're writing history before it happens. mike: sometimes we have gotten lucky -- or unlucky, depending on how you look at it. we do something on the show and then it happens in the real world. emily: what would you like to happen in the real world silicon valley? alec: keep doing what you are doing. it seems like every time we try to make up what is the crazy next thing, the real crazy next thing happens and is even crazier. mike: we would take meetings and people would describe deals that have happened. 50 million users from this app are worth so much. we found ourselves saying, is
there a giant bubble that is about to burst. bubble like to see the not burst. emily: is that happening? alec: what are the reasons that they could not get $10 million or $50 million in funding and they kept saying that there is no reason. if you had to make up a reason why, hypothetically, so the show was more interesting, what would that be? no reason. emily: the show has been criticized for the portrayal of women. the only recurring female up to
this point has said that we are not trying to change silicon valley, we are trying to create a narrative about it. you agree? mike: yes. we are doing satire about it. i think if we came out with the show and every company was 50% women, 50% men, we would be doing a disservice by not calling attention to the fact that it is 87% male. one of the guys that we talked to was a system architecture guy on facebook who said, by the way, there are no women. it was like that when i was here. when you're doing satire, you are taking jabs at them for it. emily: have you been following the lawsuits? facebook and twitter. what is your take on the sexism issue in silicon valley?
mike: it is kind of surprising to me that it took this long for anything to happen. it has been male-dominated for -- i am old. i was in it in the 80's. i am not surprised. engineers, i making a broad statement, but i think a lot of male engineers have this thing about women that goes back to women treating them badly in high school. alec: anything that is ripe for satire, we have a duty to the show to go after. if we can figure out an inspired way to hit it, absolutely. emily: would you work for amazon or netflix? ♪
other things that you have done? mike: "king of the hill," "beavis and butthead," there was no overall arc. i have never done live-action television. i have done movies. crew peopleve 40 standing behind you, you worry about them snickering behind you. alec: season one, it is like if we screw it up nobody will notice. now that people are watching and we have a little buzz, we cannot fail quietly. emily: the entertainment landscape is so fragmented. it is so different from "seinfeld" and must-see tv on nbc. it is different for viewers. how is it different for writers and creators? alec: it does not feel that different to me. you have to do something that is good and make it as funny as you
can and you can't listen to people who want to make it something it is not. mike: one thing that is different is the nature of hbo of almost no interference from the network. with networks it is just all kinds of notes and things you cannot say. very weird standards. not that i am always trying to be foul mouthed and vulgar. doing pay cable is just different. alec: they do not have advertisers. they do not have to worry about offending anybody and we take money from that airline. emily: what does hbo care about? what did they say they want from you? mike: they wanted something that originally,-- something that is uniquely yours. your voice.
it has been nothing but let's get you what you want. emily: would you work for amazon studios? would you work for netflix? mike: sure. not for the next year or two. i am under contract. [laughter] emily: have you been impressed with what they have been producing? alec: when you're not making that many shows, there is an emphasis on quality because you have to put something out that people are excited about and for us that is the greatest thing in the world. when the only stipulation is that it has to be good, sign me up. emily: should comcast be worried? mike: probably. i guess they should be worried. if they are not, they should be. emily: what is next for you guys? you having fun? long do you want to keep doing this show? alec: we write for four or five months and shoot for three months and edit for four or five months and then it is time to start writing again.
when we wrapped the show, there is this thing going around the , about what the next gig is, and and they always ask us this and the question is, what are you working on? i am working on this. [laughter] mike: i get two weeks off. alec: it is embarrassing but that is the reality. mike: this is more like doing three movies in a year. that is what it feels like. but it is 10 episodes. it seems like it should feel easier and easier but it is not. but i love doing it. emily: when do you start thinking about season three? mike: june. alec: we might be gathering material as we speak. season three, season of the spit take. emily: thank you so much for joining us.
♪ emily: founder, ceo, mad scientist. max levchin is one of silicon valley's most iconic and serial entrepreneurs. he has played a role in some of tech's biggest successes, from paypal to yahoo! to yelp. today, you can find him in his innovation lab, tackling issues like fertility, health care, and banking. but many years ago, max levchin had no country to call home. he fled the soviet union, and ever the entrepreneur, built a new life in america.